1st Edition

Phenomenology of the Broken Body

Edited By Espen Dahl, Cassandra Falke, Thor Eirik Eriksen Copyright 2019
    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    256 Pages
    by Routledge

    Some fundamental aspects of the lived body only become evident when it breaks down through illness, weakness or pain. From a phenomenological point of view, various breakdowns are worth analyzing for their own sake, and discussing them also opens up overlooked dimensions of our bodily constitution. This book brings together different approaches that shed light on the phenomenology of the lived body—its normality and abnormality, health and sickness, its activity as well as its passivity. The contributors integrate phenomenological insights with discussions about bodily brokenness in philosophy, theology, medical science and literary theory. Phenomenology of the Broken Body demonstrates how the broken body sheds fresh light on the nuances of embodied experience in ordinary life and ultimately questions phenomenology’s preunderstanding of the body.


    Espen Dahl, Cassandra Falke, Thor Eirik Eriksen

    Section I: Vulnerable Bodies

    1. Weakness and Passivity: Phenomenology of the Body after Paul

    Espen Dahl

    2. The Vulnerable Body – Merleau-Ponty and Psychoanalysis

    Ståle Finke

    3. Bodily Pain and the Breakdown of Language in Algerian Testimony and Literature

    Alexandra Megearu

    4. Framing Embodiment in Violent Narratives

    Cassandra Falke

    Section II: Suffering Bodies

    5. Only Vulnerable Creatures Suffer: On Suffering, Embodiment and Existential Health

    Ola Sigurdson

    6. The Body Beyond Scientific Certainty – Brokenness, Uncanniness, Affectedness

    Thor Eirik Eriksen

    7. No Way Out: A Phenomenology of Pain

    Christian Grüny

    8. The Phenomenology of Fatigue

    Katherine Morris

    Section III: Recovery and Life´s Margins

    9. Suffering’s Double Disclosure and the Structure of Normality in Experience

    James McGuirk

    10. Recovery as Re-attunement: Repairing the Body-World Relationship

    Drew Leder

    11. Notes from a Heart Attack

    Kevin Aho

    12. Broken Pregnancies

    Talia Welsh

    13. Dying Bodies and Dead Bodies: A Phenomenological Analysis of Dementia, Coma and Brain Death

    Fredrik Svenaeus


    Espen Dahl is Professor of Systematic Theology at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. His research interests mainly focus on the intersection between twentieth-century philosophy (phenomenology and ordinary language philosophy) and theology. His publications include Stanley Cavell, Religion, and Continental Philosophy (2014); In Between. The Holy Beyond Modern Dichotomies (2011); The Holy and Phenomenology. Religious Experience after Husserl (SCM Press 2010). Dahl has published numerous articles on theology and philosophy, such as "Job and the Problem of Physical Pain – a Phenomenological Reading," Modern Theology 2016, 32 (1); and "Humility and Generosity: On the Horizontality of the Divine Givenness," Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie, 55 (nr 3) (2013).

    Cassandra Falke is a Professor of English Literature at UiT-The Arctic University of Norway. Her books include Intersections in Christianity and Critical Theory (ed. 2010), Literature by the Working Class: English Autobiography, 1820-1848 (2013), and most recently The Phenomenology of Love and Reading (2016). She has also authored articles about Wordsworth, Byron, Coleridge, liberal arts education, contemporary phenomenology and the portrayal of violence in literature.

    Thor Eirik Eriksen has a PhD in Philosophy and holds a position as senior adviser at The University Hospital of North Norway and Assistant Professor of Community Medicine, at UiT – The Arctic University of Norway. His main research interests are philosophy of science, existential philosophy, phenomenology and the borderland between philosophy and medicine. He has been a contributing author on such articles as: "At the Borders of Medical Reasoning: Aetiological and Ontological Challenges of Medically Unexplained Symptoms" in Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine (in press), "The Medically Unexplained Revisited" in Medicine Healthcare and Philosophy (2012), "Patients' 'Thingification', Unexplained Symptoms and Response-ability in the Clinical Context" (2016).